Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Avalon Code

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

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            The Nintendo DS is well known for it’s many Role-Playing Game (RPG) releases in the market at present, with little else of note arriving on the format to keep the long time gamers’ interest. Any new title entering that market need have a number of interesting new devices to differentiate itself from the competition, and thankfully Rising Star Games’ most recent offering, Avalon Code, has a few ideas up its’ sleeve.

            Choosing between either male or female protagonists as the game starts, the player witnesses a vision of a recurring nightmare about the end of the world. However, they are not tasked with saving the world in the usual tradition, but aiding the judgement of it. UElectronic Theatre Imagesing a magic tome known as the Book of Prophecy, the player must record all that the world offers that is worth saving, so that information may be used to create the next world. It’s an interesting premise that opens the door for a number of intriguing gaming mechanics, both borrowed and unqiue to Avalon Code.

            The first noticable instance of convention designed around the Book of Prophecy, as most of the game is, is that of making new entires in the book. Similar to the scanning element of the Metroid Prime series, noting each new character, enemy and item in the Book of Prophecy will reveal a great deal of information, even though adding a new entry could be considered a tad more intrusive than simply looking in it’s direction. In addition to new information however, players can also alter the basic presentation or statistics applied to many enemies and other elements.

            As much of the game revolves around the Book of Prophecy, it’s only right that the RPG staple of levelling-up shoud be measured here too. The player becomes stronger through creating new entries, with a numeric knowledge score dictating their growth. As the pages of the book begin to fill, soElectronic Theatre Image too will the player grow, learn new abilities and create new weapons, further increasing the knowledge accumulated in the tome. As a cycical system, it allows keen players to maximise the benefits of adding new entires quickly, and provides an easly adaptable diffiuculty curve for those not as familiar with traditional RPG systems. The statistics are there for those who feel the need to monitor them, but players who have come for the story need not be bogged down with their current strength attribute.

            The Book of Prophecy, constantly displayed on the Touch Screen, also provides the player with the typical necessities of grand adventures. A series of succinct maps are displayed here with a pleasing footstep trail marking the player’s location, and a detailed analysis of relationships is a cunning way of reminding the player of the many side-quests available without including a generic mission list.

            The combat in  Avalon Code takes place in real-time, and is more dependant on the player’s currently equipped weapon and knowledge of the enemy than their dexterity with the console’s diminutive buttons. The open plains provide many opportunities for encounters with beastsElectronic Theatre Image and defeating a great number of any one kind can further add to the value of the Book of Prophecy, in turn rewarding the player with new knowledge. Venturing into the game’s dungeons is a typically linear experience, but remains an entertaining practice, especially given a few of the games lengthier later stages. Unlike titles such as Children of Mana and Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon, Avalon Code is a Role-Playing not designed around the ideal of handheld play, but instead the unique properties of the world’s most successful handheld system. Short bursts of gameplay is not the intention here, as Avalon Code can be as time-absorbing as any home console RPG.        

            Offering 3D worlds comparable to the Final Fantasy recreations on Nintendo DS, Avalon Code is certainly easy on the eye. Occasional characters may lack detail and certain objects can become obscured by inconsequential details – an issue that can become frustrating with the prescribed camera angle – but as a unique world Avalon Code will clearly act as a source of inspiration for futureElectronic Theatre Image titles operating under the technical limitations of Nintendo’s portable system. Bar a remarkable opening theme, the soundtrack of Avalon Code isn’t up to the same standard as the visual implementation, relying on generic RPG tinkering and looping low quality orchestral pieces.

            Avalon Code does have its’ flaws, but the inventive twenty-hour quest is certainly an attractive proposition. A number of interesting ideas are met with well devised implementation, and the bizarre ability to launch enemies into outer space brings a smile both the first and last times that the player delivers such a blow. With one of the most cinematic presentations Nintendo DS RPGs have yet offered and setting a new standard in finely crafted pacing, fans of the genre would certainly be making a mistake in overlooking Rising Star Games’ latest.

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